phil lesh and friends at jones beach was my third concert in 4 days, and easily the best show of the trio! it was a return of sorts, since my last phil lesh show, 2006, was also here at jones beach. with the revised line-up of friends, and no joan osborne on this tour, it was an entirely different sound - and experience!
rob, emmy and i drove down to the show together. in a repeat of the dark star orchestra and tea lea leaf green shows on governor's island friday night, we hooked up my friend paul (and his friends) for a bit of tail gating before heading in for the show.
paul and cheryl (awol from this photo op is his friend chris).
the only downside to our trip was missing levon helms as the opening act. whatever bright light decided to schedule his show for 5 pm had him and his band play to a practically empty theatre!
we made it to our seats around 6:30, and phil was supposed to take the stage at 7. the show started closer to 7:20 - but was well worth the wait!
without any preliminaries, they went straight into "playin in the band" > jam > "bird song." the powerful rendition of "bird song" was followed (for me) by the unrecognized "when you're walking away," into a fired up version of "the wheel." fired up with some intense guitar riffs - giving us a taste of the incredibly heavy guitar solos to follow later in the show!
things slowed down a bit with "mountains of the moon," and picked up again as they cruised into a great "uncle john's band." but that pair was just the set-up for the most intense, hard-rocking "sugar magnolia > sunshine daydream" i've ever heard performed to close the first set!! it included some of the most intense, driving guitar work ever played on a dead tune. in fact, it's no stretch to say it almost redefined the song!
after a wayyy tooo long intermission (easily 40+ minutes) the came back on with a rocking "china cat" - and since phil has been unpacking the "china >rider" lately, into "fire on the moutain!" once again, that pair was just the set up for what was probably one of the most hard rockin, bluesy version of "sugaree" ever played. just like the first set sugar magnolia > sunshine daydreams," it redefined the tune (and its potential) in my mind - totally awesome!
then we got a trip down memory lane with "st. stephen > eleven (including some spacey keyboard effects for a twist)," which set-up an intense, jam driven, "unbroken chain." unless i was seriously hallucinating (and i'm sure i wasn't) - phil and friends tossed in a stretch of edgar winter's "frankenstein" runs during the first jam! totally inspired performance!
the second set wound down with a "dark star > born cross-eyed > dark star." and closed with a totally botched "know you rider." emmy and rob weren't disappointed by "rider" - but the muffed lyrics and totally soft sung "if i was a headlight on a north bound train" was painful to listen to. but that one misstep couldn't mar what was a killer show!
we headed out just as phil went into his rap and the encores ("attics of my life"/"playin" reprise). this was one terrific night of music!!
the complete setlist:
first set: playin' in the band > jam > bird song, when you're walking away, the wheel > jam > mountains of the moon > uncle john's band, sugar magnolia > sunshine daydream
second set: jam> china cat sunflower > fire on the mountain > sugaree, st. stephen > jam > the eleven, unbroken Chain > jam > dark star > born cross-eyed > dark star > i know you rider
encore: attics of my life playin' in the band (reprise).
check out the rest of the photos from the show!